From the Desk of Eric Kaler: Give for the Good

From Minnesota Alumni Magazine Winter 2018


It's called Driven and, on its face, it looks and sounds like a philanthropic campaign. In fact, it’s been 18 years since our last University-wide campaign.

But Driven is more than that. To me, it’s a journey and, as a fellow alumnus, I’m asking you to help me and join me on this journey that’s intended to push us from being a very, very good University of Minnesota to one that’s unquestionably great.

Driven is our opportunity to raise $4 billion—yes, with a “b’’—together. Why? Because as an alumnus you know how this wonderful university transformed your life, and continues to transform the lives of our nearly 68,000 students on our five campuses.

We’re doing this because all qualified students—the best and brightest in Minnesota and beyond—should come to the U, regardless of their ability to pay.

We’re doing this because our faculty deserve it. They deserve to have the best support and facilities. They produce the inventions and the cures, and they transform our students and the world.

And we’re engaged in this Driven campaign because this community needs us. Minnesota needs a premier university. We are that already, but this campaign will let us soar.

How? With these priorities.

First, Driven will allow our university to continue to be a force for change as we drive a Minnesota plan for innovation, building on our history of invention, discovery, and job creation.

Second, we will tap some of that knowledge to protect and sustain agriculture, food, and water. We will deliver on our land-grant mission to protect our natural resources and feed the world safely.

Third, Driven will help us accelerate advances in health. Our interdisciplinary collaboration—on our Twin Cities, Duluth, and Rochester campuses—will provide better treatment and quality of life for all Minnesotans, and pathbreaking research that saves lives all over the world.

We also are driven to provide a place of opportunity for everyone. We’ll advocate for equity and opportunity and, among other things, we’ll work to close Minnesota’s achievement gap and enrich our shared quality of life by bringing the arts into communities statewide.

Last—and my top priority for this campaign—we will elevate a world-class student experience. That doesn’t mean fancy dorms. It means more deserving students from Minnesota and around the world who need our support will receive scholarships and fellowships and have the chance to better their lives . . . and ours. And it means supporting those world-class teachers and researchers who transform those students.

This is our first launch of a university-wide campaign since 1999. Coincidentally, that’s exactly the year that most of our freshmen this fall were born. So, in my view, our first-year students have benefited from the generosity of those—many of you—who contributed to that campaign way back then. And the next generation—the ones who enter our University 20 and 30 years down the road—will thrive because of Driven.

To learn more and to consider giving, please go to

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